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Citizen celebrates 50 years of titanium watchmaking

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Citizen made its first titanium watch in 1970, and has continued to drive innovation with the development of proprietary treatments of the material. Next year it hopes its patented Super Titanium material will help a Japanese space exploration firm make super light and tough parts for vehicles that will land on the moon.

Citizen is reminding enthusiasts of its rich history in watchmaking innovation with the launch of a new Satellite Wave GPS F950 Titanium 50th Anniversary Limited Edition that commemorates making the world’s first titanium watch back in 1970.

The ground-breaking first titanium watch was known as the X-8 chronometer, and used titanium with a purity of 99.6% for the case.

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The X-8 product name is a combination of X, which mathematicians use to signifying an unknown variable, and 8, the symbol of infinity when it is turned on its side, to portray infinite possibilities of titanium.

Citizen continued to work with titanium over the past 50 years and developed proprietary Super Titanium by combining titanium with surface-hardening technology, Duratect. Super Titanium is harder, 50% more resistant to scratches than stainless steel and easier to machine and finish.

This opened up titanium to have polished or glossy finishes and to have surface color treatments.

Since 1970, Citizen has continued to release titanium watches and expand the Super Titanium line with watches that bring together cutting-edge technologies with sophisticated designs. Unlike untreated titanium, Super Titanium enables the creation of a wide variety of color tones such as silver, black, gold, and even pink gold. “The design possibilities for watches with Super Titanium are infinite,” Citizen says.

Citizen’s moonshot

With the 50th anniversary on the horizon, Citizen announced last year that it would become a partner with the Japanese start-up space exploration operation ispace, Inc., which is planning to launch two lunar missions over the next three years under the name of Hakuto-R.

Hakuto-R program will see ispace developing a lunar lander and a lunar rover to explore the surface of the moon, with Citizen’s Super Titanium material used in both vehicles.

Should ispace succeed in landing on the moon, it will be a world first for a private company. It will also take Citizen’s titanium technology, refined over 50 years, into space — an entirely new feat.

In honor of its 50 years in titanium history, and to celebrate its new future in space, Satellite Wave GPS F950 Titanium 50th Anniversary Limited Edition has set a new benchmark for the brand and a new price point of $5,000 for each of the 550 pieces that will be made for worldwide release in December.

It will be sold exclusively on Citizen’s website.

The watch uses the same space design concept of the Satellite Wave GPS F100 released in 2014 and Satellite Wave GPS F900 from 2015.

Its case and bracelet have pronounced three-dimensional surfaces with edgy, straight lines that create a symmetrical profile shape of angles and shadows. The black dial is given a multi-layered structure with six parts stacked on top of one another, evoking the image of the endless depths of outer space. It is protected under sapphire glass with an anti-reflective coating.

The 47.5mm case conveys a sense of refinement by combining two parts from Citizen’s unique surface hardening Duractect technology, to create contrasting black and pink gold details.

The Super Titanium 50th anniversary mark is stamped into the watch case back, which is coated with Duratect Sakura Pink.

 

In addition to the 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Model, Citizen released a new line of Super Titanium Armor timepieces in the summer of 2020.

Inspired by modern armor, they are designed in bold, sharp lines with the crown at 4 o’clock for comfort in a contoured case that fits smoothly around the wrist. The two chronograph models feature a case with a seamless flow, hiding the crown with a ratchet bezel.

Using Citizen’s proprietary Eco-Drive technology, the collection is powered by light and never needs a battery change.

Prices range from $550 for a three hander with date to $650 for two chronographs.

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